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Arabian Sands Eclipse tour
Education / Learning Educational/ learning Arabian Sands Eclipse package

Arabian Sands Eclipse

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 2,690 $ 336 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Annular eclipse - Watch the solar eclipse from the desert at Wahiba Sands
  • Wahiba Sands - 4 day 4WD exploration and camp among spectacular sand dunes
  • Muscat - See the impressive Royal Palace, Corniche and Grand Mosque of the capital
  • AL Hajar - Drive across the rugged wilderness of the mountains
  • Castles - Discover ancient forts and battlements in Bahla and Nizwa

Short Description

Witness a spectacular annular eclipse in the Wahiba Sands on this adventure through the diverse landscapes of this fascinating country. Discover the contrasts of modern day and ancient Omani life by visiting colourful souks, meeting date farmers and exploring the contemporary Grand Mosque in Muscat. Stay on the highest mountain in the country and peer down echoing fissures at Oman's grand canyon. Sleep out under a bed of stars in a true wilderness camp in the desert and swim in turquoise waters at Wadi Arbayeen.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Muscat

Travel Theme

Education / Learning

Destinations

Oman

Cities & Attractions

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 - Explore Muscat

Description

Arrive in Muscat and join the tour at the hotel. Muscat is an old walled town, surrounded by a horseshoe ring of mountains that naturally restricts its growth. This afternoon we will take an orientation tour of the city. Muscat displays intermingling ancient cultural heritage and modern style; we will see houses, gates, old markets, small shops and winding roads evocative of authentic history, side by side with busy markets, shops, buildings and streets stamped with modern architecture. On our tour we will visit Bait Al Zubair Museum, which is a centre of Omani art and cultural heritage. We will also have the chance to take a stroll along the waterfront of Mutrah, Muscat's oldest quarter and onto the souk.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Visit the Grand Mosque and cross the Hajar Mountains to Jebel Shams

Description

This morning we visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque; the largest mosque in the country with space for up to 20,000 worshippers. This sandstone-made building features a huge Iranian made prayer map which took 600 women 4 years to make! After exploring the mosque we will head out of Muscat in our 4WD and enter the Hajar Mountain range. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the country; we climb on steep bendy roads with views over ravines, mountains and fertile valleys. We stop at Bilad Sayt, a small village in the mountains surrounded by a patchwork of green irrigated fields. This village is so remote it can only be reached by 4WD, this means it has kept a traditional feel and is a stark contrast to how developed Muscat is. Our destination is Jebel Shams, the highest mountain in Oman with a summit of just over 3000 metres, though we will be sleeping below that altitude.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3 - Visit castles, forts and a date plantation. Explore Oman's Grand Canyon

Description

After breakfast we drive out of the mountains and head to the 17th century Jabreen castle. Jabreen is different to the other forts we will see on this trip as it was originally built as a palace during a peaceful time. This means the castle is designed to be aesthetically beautiful with decorated wooden windows and balconies, but the reason that most visitors come here is the intricate and colourful ceiling artwork. We move on to Bahla to see its imposing fort, one of the oldest in Oman and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fort is made from mud bricks with rounded turrets and has battlements and walls that stretch for 7km around the town. Aside from the impressive fort, Bahla is also known for its pottery and we will make a quick stop at a potter to learn about their craft and a chance to buy some gifts. Driving back to the mountains we stop at the village of Al Hamra to visit the Bait al Safeh living museum, this community project shows Omani traditions such as bread making, oil extraction and coffee bean roasting. Al Hamra is well known for its vast date plantations and we will meet a date farmer who will show us around a plantation. We make our way back to Jebel Shams to walk to the view point of Wadi Ghul, also known as the Grand Canyon of Arabia. At some parts of the ridge there are vertigo-inducing views of 1000 metre deep fissures; we will be here late afternoon as the last light of the day disappears down the canyon.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 - Drive into the vast desert and enter Wahiba Sands

Description

Our first stop is Nizwa and we will visit the 17th century Nizwa fort, to climb the 40 metre tower and look out over the forest of date palms that circle the city.
We leave the mountains behind and drive deep into the heart of the shifting sands of Wahiba. Laid out like a great ocean of sand the endless dunes are generally rusty red at the base and honey coloured on the top - an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. The sands are home to the Bedu, nomadic tribesmen who roam the land with goats and camels, or live in small fishing villages. An exhilarating drive across the dunes brings us to the Wahiba Sands, our campsite for the night. We aim to arrive in to our wild camp mid-afternoon and there will be time to explore the huge dunes before we settle down to a dinner cooked by our chef. This is a wild campsite in the desert. There are no showers or toilet blocks. These basic facilities ensure a true wilderness experience. Camping equipment is provided locally including a mattress, bed sheet, sleeping bag and pillow. Your tents will be erected by our camp crew on arrival to camp and our camp chef will provide all meals.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 - Witness the annular solar eclipse in the desert; drive to the Arabian Sea

Description

An annular eclipse occurs this morning, 26th December 2019; this phenomenon occurs when the moon and sun are directly in line, but it appears that the size of moon is smaller than that of the Sun, this then creates a bright ring, surrounding the dark circle of the moon. Weather conditions cannot be guaranteed, but the chance of clear, mostly clear or partly cloudy skies is around 82%.

Eclipse glasses will be provided to allow you to view this natural wonder safely and we will be accompanied by an expert astronomer to provide more information and answer any questions you may have.

After we have witnessed the eclipse we will break camp and drive to the Arabian Sea and the town of Ras Al Hadd and check in to our hotel. After dinner we take a short drive down to Ras Al Hadd beach which features a turtle conservation reserve. A local naturalist will lead us down to the beach where we will hopefully see turtles nesting. We are not in the high season for turtle sighting but there is generally nesting here year round.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 - Follow the coastal road to Wadi Tiwi, walk amongst rock pools and banana trees

Description

This morning we drive north along the coastal road, pausing at the port of Sur. Once a major trading port with East Africa, Sur represents the seafaring origins of Oman. We will visit the dhow shipbuilding yard, however as it is a Friday we cannot guarantee we will see dhows being built today, though either way we will have a wander around the yard. Our destination today is Wadi Tiwi, a narrow yet deep gorge carved out of the mountains; the valley floor is punctuated with crystal clear rock pools and banana plantations. Upon arrival our leader will take us on a 2 hour round trip to the old stone houses of Harat Bidah, the walk to the village is fairly easy, with only some small inclines. We are wild camping at Wadi Tiwi and those that do not want to walk can relax around camp.This is a wild campsite. There are no showers or toilet blocks. These basic facilities ensure a true wilderness experience. Camping equipment is provided locally including a mattress, bed sheet, sleeping bag and pillow. Your tents will be erected by our camp crew on arrival to camp and our camp chef will provide all meals.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 - Swim in the Bimah sinkhole and Wadi Arbayeen, return to Muscat

Description

Continuing north we stop at the spectacular Bimah sinkhole, a huge limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom there is time for a swim here before we move on to Wadi Arbayeen. This Wadi has a deep pool of water, set amongst date palms and a rugged rocky backdrop. There is another opportunity for a swim here and a short walk around the area. We will then continue on our way to back to Muscat, we aim to arrive mid-afternoon so there will be some time to do some shopping and exploring on arrival.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 - Trip ends in Muscat

Description

Trip ends this morning after breakfast.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 2,690
Price Per Day: $ 336 per day
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Start DateFinish DateSingle Land OnlyTwin Share Land OnlyDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Dec-22-2019Dec-29-2019$ 3,150$ 2,690Yes3+ spaces available Reserve
Dec-22-2019Dec-29-2019$ 3,150$ 2,690Yes3+ spaces available Reserve
Dec-22-2019Dec-29-2019$ 3,480$ 2,830Yes3+ spaces available Reserve

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Explore!.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Clark Norton
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Arabian Sands Eclipse

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Company Reviews

Wonderful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was grateful to Explore with my booking as I was forced to cancel at a late date and then was enabled to rebook which meant the difference between having no summer holiday and a wonderful one. All of the administration seemed to be very efficient, friendly and professional.
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Wonderful holiday memories

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have travelled all over the world with explore on their family adventure holidays. We have an only child and she benefited so much with instant friendships, and has some wonderful holiday memories. Explore has always been very helpful with the booking process, and we have found most of the tour leaders they use to be professional, committed, really good at their jobs.
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Extremely enjoyable

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have travelled with Explore on several occasions. Each experience has been positive and every trip extremely enjoyable. The itinerary’s are excellent ensuring a full and varied experience and the use of local guides is hugely beneficial.
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It's fantastic trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It's fantastic trip for me..just not very happy for accommodation. And the trip leader .If he can make more time with us.and make more interesting and funny when he was talking. It is should be good..other way he is good..
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wonderful

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Danijela, our tour guide, was wonderful. She shared plenty of facts about Croatia with us and managed all the arrangements really well. One of our group had a birthday while we were away and Danijela gave her a present and we celebrated. Transfers to and from the airport went well. Prior to going, the staff on the phones were really helpful with any questions.
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Great experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our third family adventure with Explore, all have been great experiences. Kids bond immediately and adults can melt into the background and relax. The size of the groups makes mixing manageable and the guides and crews have been first rate throughout.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

Dhow cruise - 26 Rials per person (approx US$70)

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

The campsites on this trip are wild camps in the desert. There are no showers or toilet blocks. These basic facilities ensure a true wilderness experience in the desert. Camping equipment is provided locally including a mattress, bed sheet, sleeping bag and pillow. Your tents will be erected by our camp crew on arrival to camp and our camp chef will provide all meals.

Guides

A Tour Leader is an integral part of any Explore tour and your tour will be led by one of our experienced Tour Leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Tour Leaders are the key to the success of our tours; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your Tour Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this tour fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Camp Crew, Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Camp Crew, Astronomer, Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Camp Crew, Astronomer

Trip ID#:

explore-OME

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